Receiving Gifts for Sex in Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk- A Compensated Dating Survey - Sexuality Culture(2015 19:321348 DOI 10.1007/s12119-014-9269-7

Receiving Gifts for Sex in Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk- A Compensated Dating Survey

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ORIGINAL PAPER Receiving Gifts for Sex in Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk: A Compensated Dating Survey Christopher S. Swader Irina D. Vorobeva Published online: 7 January 2015 Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015 Abstract ‘‘Compensated dating’’ (CD) indicates the exchange of sexual intimacy for material compensation. This article investigates CD as receiving gifts for sex , such as luxuries, rent, travel, or monetary gifts. It proceeds by describing who engages in the practice and why, while comparing Russia with its cultural and linguistic neighbors, Ukraine and Belarus. A survey, which was answered by a representative sample (n = 678) from the cities of Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk, indicates that CD reception rates are comparable to elsewhere in the world. Moreover, while these cities have similar CD rates , there are important inter-city differences in the characteristics that make people more or less likely to take part. CD reception is linked to status in Kyiv and Moscow but is more closely tied to economic survival in Minsk. Moreover, while Kyiv and Moscow CD reception is affected by the importance of instrumental economic logic within relationships, there is no indication that other relationship values, such as love, have suffered as a result. This paper contributes to the literature on CD by describing the practice for the first time using a wide sample in Eastern Europe, noting its prevalence in diverse cities, and characterizing those who are most likely to receive gifts for sex. Keywords Transactional sex Á Compensated dating Á Post-socialism Á Commodification Á Rationalization Á Eastern Europe C. S. Swader ( & ) National Research University - Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia e-mail: [email protected] I. D. Vorobeva Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands 123 Sexuality & Culture (2015) 19:321–348 DOI 10.1007/s12119-014-9269-7
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Introduction Public discourse in the mid and late Soviet Union ignored the topic of sexuality. After the collapse, not only did the theme emerge within public and scientific discussions, but the private sphere also became freed from socialist political values. At the same time as this political liberalization, the attempted building of a capitalist market economy was underway, but this factor is often ignored in studies of sexuality. This article investigates the mix of materialism and sexual liberalization in post- Soviet space. In particular, post-Soviet sexuality re-emerged into the public sphere amid widespread commercialization, and sexuality thus came to be more closely tied with luxuries, wealth, and consumption. Thus the question arises to which extent intimate relationships and intimacy have become commodified in post-Soviet space. This article focuses on one potential outcome of commodification: the prevalence of compensated dating (hereafter ‘‘CD’’) practices among people living in Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk. Social scientists know very little about CD in these societies, concerning its prevalence, those who practice it, and how and why these cities might vary.
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