Materialistic desires or childhood adversities as explanations for girls' trading sex for benefits

Juyoung Song, Merry Morash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study investigates whether high school and younger South Korean girls trade sex with middle-aged men for benefits due to cultural emphasis on materialism/consumerism, childhood adversities, or both. This form of prostitution, referred to as "compensated dating," is common in economically developed East Asian Countries, where there is debate about its causes. Purposeful sampling was used to select a diverse group of 25 girls who described involvement in compensated dating, and a life calendar method was used to guide the interview. The rich data were subjected to thematic analysis to show the nature of prostitution involvement, precursors, and motivations. Data analysis revealed that sole reliance on materialistic desire as an explanation of prostitution obscures the influence of peer pressure and family dysfunction. Findings suggest the need for social services rather than punitive responses to girls involved in compensated dating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-81
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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