Surprisingly little population-based, social scientific research directly examines the association between veteran status and ever paying for sex although there are theoretical reasons to expect that such an association might emerge across the life course. In this article, we examined the relationship between veteran status and ever paying for sex among American men who turned 18 years old between 1922 and 2010 using data from three independent national samples: Wave 1 of the 2005–2006 National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP); the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS); and pooled data from the 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2010 General Social Survey (GSS). In all three datasets, we found that veterans were significantly more likely than non-veterans to report ever having paid for sex: rates across the three sub-studies ranged from 10.86 to 14.57 % among non-veterans and from 25.27 to 33.92 % among veterans. In multivariate models that controlled for demographic and early-life factors to the extent possible with available data, the odds of ever paying for sex were estimated to be 2.25–3.10 times higher among veterans than among non-veterans. In a supplemental analysis using data from the GSS, we found that longer duration of service was associated with an increased odds of ever paying for sex. While these results do not demonstrate a causal relationship between serving in the military and ever paying for sex, the strength and consistency of the findings provide compelling evidence of an association that is worthy of further theorizing and empirical investigation. There is considerable room for advancing knowledge related to the influence of military service on the initiation, maintenance, frequency, and timing of paid sexual relationships in relation to other life events.
- Life course
- Paid sex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)