All statistics should be treated with caution, as several studies are decades old and thus may not reflect the current situation, additionally some were not conducted on German, but British or American sex buyers, while yet others rely on mere estimates.
How many men buy sex in Germany?
According to estimates 1,2 million men buy sexual access to prostituted people (mostly women) in Germany every day. About every 5th German man buys access to a prostituted woman or man at least once in his life. Long-term buyers pay for sexual access about once a month, aka 12 times a year (WARNING: Linked website contains pornography).
What’s the profile of the average sex buyer?
The average sex buyer is slightly younger than the average German man, although men of all ages participate (p. 4 or 356).
Somewhere between a third and half of all sex buyers have a long-term partner or are married (p. 4 or 356; Source 2, p. 10 or 9; Source 3, p. 9; Source 4, p. 15 or 13). Many buyers, including those who report to currently be single, report high numbers of past sex partners – most of them non-prostituted (p. 9).
Men from every part of society, with and without migrant background, employed in all kinds of economic sectors, can be found amongst sex buyers. Sex buying is however also a question of money, which explains why men with higher school degrees (e.g. the German Abitur) and higher academic degrees are overrepresented amongst sex buyers (p. 4 or 357).
Regular sex buyers spend four-digit sums for the use of prostitution every year.
For reference: The average German man made about 48.000€ (55.000$) gross wage per year in 2017 (while the average German woman made about 40.000€ (46.000$) before tax deduction). 1200€ are equivalent to about 1400$, 1200-2000€ to 1400-2300$, 2000-3000€ to 2300-3500$, 3000-4000€ to 3500-4600$ (all calculations in accordance with exchange rate of August, 2018).
The link to the survey cannot be provided, as it has been deleted from the Lusthaus punter forum. This is a screenshot of the survey when it was still available in 2018:
German sex buyers cover the entire spectrum of political and religious convictions, but evidence suggests that men on the political right may be overrepresented (source 2, source 3):
Here the comparison with the voting outcome of the German parliamentary elections of 2017:
How do sex-buyers view non-prostituted women?
Compared to the average male population sex buyers consume above average hours of pornography, are more likely to visit strip clubs and more likely to believe in rape myths (p. 21). In one study every second buyer reported having acted aggressively towards non-prostituted sex partners in the past (p. 36) and in another 2 out of 5 admitted having pressured one or several non-prostituted women into sex through lies and deceit (p. 13). In a study by the United Nations Development Programme, researchers found a strong connection between propensity for sexual violence and sex buying (p. 13 or 15).
According to a British study, sex buyers are more likely to approve of their own daughter entering prostitution than non-buyers. According to this study 23% would not feel concern, if their daughter entered prostitution, while only 11% of non-buyers shared this view (p. 21 or 19). Nonetheless this still means that 77% of sex-buyers would not want their daughters to enter an industry, which they make frequent use of.
Sex buyers who are in relationships most frequently name the following motivations for sex buying and thereby cheating on their partner: 50% consider prostitution necessary, because they want a variety of sex partners and sexual practices. 30% justify their prostitution use with the claim that their own partner has a lower libido than they do (WARNING: Linked website contains pornography).
How do sex-buyers view prostituted women?
In several British studies every third to fourth sex buyer stated, that he expects every and any sexual practice to be available after handing over money (p. 13; second source, p. 20 or 18). 1 in 4 expressed, that in their mind prostituted women are „unrapeable“, because they supposedly do not possess sexual boundaries and are prepared to have any kind of sex, at any time, with anyone (p. 13).
Numerous sex buyers actively fetishize prostituted women of specific ethnicities, especially women from developing countries as studies (p. 18/20) and surveys from German punter forums show: (source 1, source 2, source 3 WARNING: Linked websites contain pornography):
Additionally sex buyers tend to prefer buying access to young/considerably younger women. (WARNING: Linked websites contain pornography.)
In a British study about every second sex buyer stated his belief, that the sex of prostitution is enjoyed by the prostituted woman (p. 19). In an American study on the experience of sexual contact with buyers 9 out of 10 women spoke of distaste, disgust and fear. In a study by the German family ministry 78% of prostituted women reported having felt afraid of a sex buyer on at least a few occasions (p. 56 or 520).
How much and what kind of violence is perpetrated by sex buyers?
A study by the German family ministry from 2004 identified sex buyers as a significant perpetrator group of violence against prostituted women and came to the following conclusions (p. 67 or 531):
Persons encountered in the work environment were explicitly identified by the women taking the survey as pimps and buyers – when it came to sexual violence at the work place sex buyers were most often named as perpetrators (p. 43 or 507). Researchers of the study also stated that the perpetrator group labeled ‚distant acquaintances‘ or ’strangers‘ may well include sex buyers (p. 41 or 505). In the perception of many prostituted women the sex buyer and especially the pimp may also be identified and labeled as a friend, family member or partner (p. 60 or 524).
40% of prostituted women in the study stated having been the victim of robbery at least once in their life – 38% of those stated having experienced robbery in the context of the sex trade (p. 57 or 521). 38% had experienced being locked up and bound against their will for elongated time spans, 39% of those had experienced being locked up and bound against their will in connection with prostitution (p. 57 or 521). In comparison to the average German female population, prostituted women named persons from a work-related context six times and strangers as perpetrators of violence against them twice as often (p. 42 or 506).
The family ministry further came to the following conclusions about violence as experienced by (mostly) adult prostituted women (Restating: Not all of this violence was perpetrated by sex buyers, but a considerable amount):
International estimates conclude that prostituted women are at 12 to 18 times the risk of being murdered than the average female population. An investigation into the murders of prostituted women in Germany identifies sex buyers as primary perpetrators (more than half of all cases on this list). My own evaluation of the evidence provided within the linked source came to the following conclusions (perpetrators who were both partners as well as sex buyers or pimps of the prostituted woman, where sorted into the category of sex buyer and pimp instead of partner, for the purposes of this graph):
What are the consequences of sex buyer violence?
As a consequence of this lived reality prostituted women in Germany suffer under chronic physical and psychological problems more than twice as often as the average German female population (p. 62-63 or 526-527).
Inquiries into the concrete long-term injuries caused by the physical and sexual violence experienced by women in German prostitution came to the following conclusions (p. 46-47 or 510-511):
The family ministry survey evaluation stated that about 1 in 5 of all prostituted women interviewed had sustained intermediate to heavy physical injuries specifically in connection with the practice of prostitution (p. 67 or 531). Inquiries into the consumption of strong pharmaceuticals (as potential coping mechanism) by prostituted women came to the following conclusions (p. 65-66 or 529-530):
How aware are sex buyers of the consequences of their actions?
In a British study, 2 out of 5 sex buyers admitted to being aware of the physical and psychological harms of prostitution (p. 14). About half of all buyers in two different studies admitted to having concrete knowledge about dynamics of coercion and pimping within the sex trade (p. 230-233, source 2 p. 16) and about the same number claimed that they would report evidence of human trafficking to authorities. The researches of the very same study however questioned these statements (p. 24), pointing to scientific evidence that there is a common discrepancy between moral self-perception and de facto actions in real-life situations. About half of all sex buyers in one of the studies admitted to having bought access to a woman, fully aware that she was under the control of a pimp (p. 15).
What would deter men from buying sex?
In a 2009 study on sex buyers made to following statements as to what would make them seriously reconsider their sex buying (source, p. 22):
One option for the reduction of the sex trade and the interconnected human trafficking nets is offered by the Nordic Model: A legislative approach to prostitution first enacted in Sweden in 1999. The main components of this model of law are:
- the decriminalisation of all women, men and trans persons involved in the sex trade
- the funding of exit programs and viable alternatives for people in prostitution
- sex buyer prevention programs, raising awareness about sexual exploitation and aiding wide-spread awareness for free egalitarian sexuality and consent
- the criminalisation of pimps and sex buyers
Sweden has utilized this approach for 18 years now and the results are cause for optimism: The estimated number of persons in prostitution has been reduced by almost two thirds (from 2500-3000 in 1995 to about 600-1000 people in 2008; p. 458ff ), while during the same time, neighbour countries Denmark and Norway experienced a tripling of their numbers of trafficked and prostituted persons (p. 226). By now Sweden arrests about 400 sex buyers yearly (p. 4). In 1996 13.6% of all Swedish men reported having bought sexual access to a prostituted woman, in 2008 the number had shrunk to 7.9%, in 2014 it was reported at 7.5% (Quelle: Netscher, Amanda & Mujaj, Endrit. “Prostitution in Sweden 2014: The Extent and Development of Prostitution in Sweden.” Länsstyrelsen Stockholm. S. 24. 2014. Source not available for online reading).
Today the law enjoys wide-spread support among the Swedish population:
During the last 10 years the following countries have followed Sweden’s example with similar laws: Norway in 2008, Iceland in 2009, Canada in 2014, Northern Ireland in 2015, France in 2016, Ireland in 2017 and Israel in 2018. Spain is currently drafting similar legislation.