Men and women in Finland appear to have nearly polar attitudes towards buying sex, according to a new survey conducted by the Family Federation of Finland.
The survey shows that more than 60 percent of male respondents consider purchasing sexual services to be acceptable, whereas the same proportion of women polled felt the opposite.
Historian Charlotte Cederbom from the University of Helsinki studies gender history. She says that men seem more likely to see positive aspects to buying sex, whereas women are more likely to associate the industry with its severe problems, such as human trafficking and the drug trade.
One in five men has paid for sex
One in five men who took part in the survey reported having paid for sex at some point. Cederbom says that many men appear to respond to the excitement involved in the sex trade.
A myth that Cederbom is quick to dispel is that men somehow need more sexual intercourse than women.
"This conception is scientifically as well as historically false. There have been eras and cultures where women have been perceived as more sexual than men," Cederbom says.
A total of more than 6,000 people took part in the Family Federation study, making it the broadest such survey ever conducted in Finland.
The research compares Finnish attitudes towards sex in the years 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015 – and partly from as early as 1971.
Buying and selling sex is not strictly illegal in Finland, but pimping (or buying sex from pimps) is.