ASU Study Looks at Online Sex Customers

Oct 15, 2013 10:15 AM PST

TEMPE, Ariz. — A recent Arizona State University study that estimates the population of active customers of online sex ads in 15 cities has found that Houston residents are by far the most active.

Decoy ads on Backpage.com and Craigslist.com offering sexual services were tracked by ASU'S School of Social Work. Telephone numbers for voicemail and text responses were collected after the ads appeared on two consecutive Fridays at 2 p.m.

The ads received 677 voicemails and texts and 451 phone numbers responses from potential customers, researchers said. On average, within the 15 markets explored, one out over every 20 males over the age of 18 in a metropolitan city area was soliciting the online sex ads.

Houston data also showed that there were 31 total calls for the two ads — 10 text messages, 21 voicemails.

"The findings ranged from approximately one out of every five males (Houston, 21.4 percent) to less than one of 166 males (San Francisco, .6 percent)," researchers said. "In Houston, this study found that there were an estimated 169,920 males who were soliciting online sex ads, while in Phoenix; there were an estimated 78,412 males who were soliciting online sex ads."

Researchers summed up with the study that there is one large benefit arranging for sexual services online.

“Online sex customers experience a lower risk of being caught by police than street-level prostitution customers due to the insulation provided by the relative anonymity inherent in Internet-based solicitation, or attempt to buy sex,” researchers said.

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