Lonely, elderly New Zealand men turn to prostitutes for cuddles
Concern groups say even if it’s just ‘lending an ear,’ sex workers play a critical role in some people’s lives
Lonely baby boomers are turning to the sex industry for cuddles and a chat as they battle with being alone.
But it appears elderly men contacting sex workers for simple services is nothing new, but there were more men seeking out the comfort.
New Zealand Prostitutes Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said it did come with its complexities - the prostitute’s concerns that the client can afford the visit, and the psychological toll on the worker or the client.
“It’s interesting, often the usual contact does involve that, so it’s no surprise that people reach out and sex workers do play a critical role in some people’s lives.
“I guess we’ve got a generation up and coming, the baby boomers are getting a bit older and probably have the means to pay a sex worker for certain situations.”
As for how common it was, Healy said although they didn’t have data from previous years, she said the trends reflected the “general population”.
“So if the general population is ageing somewhat then that would reflect in the sex industry.”
However, she believes the non-sexual element has always been part of the prostitutes’ visit.
“I think it’s always been there. I’ve come across very old, elderly people and so it’s not a new trend but it’s difficult to say if the numbers have increased or not.
“I think its important that people don’t underestimate the role of sex workers in these relationships.”
She recalled a prostitute who had been visited by the same man at the same time each week for six years. Then he stopped.
“She had assumed they’d died because he was quite elderly. These relationships can be ongoing and quite significant in a person’s lives.”
As for what they talk about, Healy believed it was simply a case of “lending an ear”.
“I think generally just lending an ear. I think there are attachment issues that can come up and certainly there’s a vulnerability that we’re aware of that can sometimes.”
Healy said the workers didn’t give elderly clients a discount.
“There wouldn’t be reductions. Generally people set their fees and that’s that and it can mean that somebody may visit once a month and not once a week.
“There’s certainly the cost effect ... sometimes people can get really, really attached and they can burn the budget so that can be picked up by sex workers as well, so advice would be given in that respect.”
If the worker felt they were visiting too frequently and they were unsure how it was being paid for they would recommend they not visit so much, she said.
- Newstalk ZB