Hunter–Prey Discourse: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Online Posts of Men Who Buy Sex

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BACKGROUND: The Internet has emerged as a major expediter of the commercial sex (CS) industry. While use of web-based CS industry sites is brisk, the full extent of their impact remains unclear particularly how they influence users’ views of the CS industry. OBJECTIVE: This research study sought to uncover the nuances of buyers’ interactions on an online CS website. DESIGN: Six hundred sixty-six online posts from 363 unique members were collected and analyzed using critical discourse analysis. RESULTS: Via the use of language and dialogue, particular ways of thinking about and talking about buying sex are normalized and reinforced. Evident within these discursive patterns are mechanisms by which assumptions are forwarded, perceptions shaped, and authority established. CONCLUSIONS: Information about how CS industry websites establish beliefs, relationships, and practices among its users may increase understanding of how the CS industry seeks to gain acceptance in the American culture and normalize its activities.

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