Bombay Dost

Book review: Male Sex Work and Society, edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott

This collection of brilliant essays from across the globe bridges a yawning gap between reality and popular perception. This intense scholarly work on a hitherto untouched territory manages to change the narrative of male sex work from a “problem” to a “phenomenon.”

From the ancient Roman erotic ideal of Ganymede—“the beautiful shepherd who willingly allowed himself to be the sexual plaything of the king of gods” to the British soldier hustlers…impetus for prostitution was they received, “Seemingly high..became luxury, as pricey as a jar of caviar; from the trial of Athenian assemblyman Timarklos to London’s Cleveland Street Scandal in the 1800s, these historical narratives provide rare glimpses into the upheavals in the fortunes of men who sold their bodies to other men.

A critically needed resource in the academic space, it manages to open up vast new avenues of research for social scientists and much food for thought for policy makers across the globe.

Reviewed by Udayan Dhar