Paying for sex is one of those things that, oftentimes, nobody ever wants to admit. It’s understandable, as many think that it’s doing something bad, illegal or desperate in order to get laid, but that’s not always the case. In fact, paying for sex is more popular than you might think, it’s just that most people don’t talk about it.

Not long ago, we wrote a piece about the types of guys who find themselves paying for sex, and, as it turned out, they weren’t much different than the Average Joe. Problem is, paying for sex is a taboo topic to talk about — as we mentioned above — so many guys or girls deny ever doing it.

Thing is, whether you’re traveling to a place like Amsterdam that allows regulated prostitution and brothels, or going to a strip club to pay for a lap dance, you need to understand that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to do. Sure, it’s not a habit that we recommend falling into for fear that it can become an addiction, but going every once in awhile is acceptable.

While we’re not here to argue that paying for sex is similar to a first date that turns into a one-night stand — there are clear differences — it should be thought of similarly, and, thanks to some data from, we’re here to tell you why Americans’ habits when it comes to paying for sex is more common than you might think.

Why is there such a negative connotation around paying for sex?

As we mentioned above, a lot of people think paying for sex is a bad thing because it shows desperation or, worse, some sort of lack of control. That’s not always the case, though. Sure, there are some instances where paying for sex can become a problem — like a guy who I once heard spent $10,000 on porn memberships and found himself in debt — but a lot of times, paying for sex is more of a one-time thing.

Unfortunately, unlike sex that doesn’t involve payment, few people ever like to admit that they’ve done it, and, even more unfortunate, we’re not sure there’s anything that’s going to change that. Unlike other issues or sexual taboos that have been squashed in recent years, paying for sex probably isn’t going to have some sort of advocate to stand by doing it. It’s sort of one of those, “don’t ask, don’t tell” sort of things.

What types of guys are paying for sex?

We’ll get into some of the data that LehMiller found from the study about paying for sex, but, in hindsight, the types of guys who find themselves paying for sex are Average Joes. Unlike what many may think, they aren’t the creepy guys who are alone in their basement stalking girls and can’t get a date.

In fact, as we’ll show you below, many of the people paying for sex are actually pretty well off financially and professionally, so it’s not as if these guys are unsuccessful — which shows you just how common paying for sex really is.

What percentage of Americans admitted to paying for sex?

According to a 2016 study from YouGov that asked 1,000 Americans — both male and female — the blatant question, “have you ever paid someone for sex,” the response was somewhat surprising. The results showed that 12 percent of men said that they have paid for sex, while only 1 percent of women admitted to doing so. The numbers may be skewed a bit, though, as 2 percent of guys and 1 percent of girls replied with “prefer not to say,” with another 2 percent of men saying, “I don’t know.” We don’t want to speculate that those people have, indeed, paid for sex, but they may have wanted to avoid admission for some reason.

Sure, the numbers don’t jump out and show that half of Americans admitted to paying for sex, but the fact that about one in every eight guys have done it is a sign that it’s not necessarily as weird as some people might think it is.

Is there a certain age that people find themselves paying for sex the most?

This is where paying for sex gets a bit surprising, because, according to the YouGov results, people who are paying for sex tend to be older. While you may initially think that it’s the younger generation who wants to blow money on getting, well, blown (among other things), it’s actually people over the age of 30 who are doing so.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the results:

  • > 30 years old: 1 percent
  • 30-44 years old: 11 percent
  • 45 years old or older: 7 percent

So, what would be a factor that could influence these results? One theory is that, because older people are presumed to be in monogamous relationships and can get bored with the same thing, they often search elsewhere for sex. This could lead to a wandering eye that satisfies them without any strings attached.

Are Americans who admitted to paying for sex more wealthy?

Paying for sex can be expensive, but it’s not always the $10,000/night situation that many movies or TV shows often want you to think. Maybe that’s why, according to the YouGov survey, people with lower incomes were the ones who tended to pay for sex more often.

Per the results, people who earned more than $100,000/year were less than half as likely to pay for sex than those with lower incomes. There can be some correlation between money, success and sex, of course — with many thinking that a higher salary can lead to a higher sex frequency — but there’s no serious data to prove that theory.

Are guys or girls more prone to being paid for sex?

Now this is surprising, because the YouGov survey showed that both men and women were split when asked if they’ve ever received money for sex, with 6 percent of guys and girls admitting to that. One would have assumed that girls were more likely to be paid, right? Well, it turns out that girls have the itch to pay, too.

As we pointed out earlier, there’s a major gap between frequency or the number of guys admitting to paying for sex compared to girls, but the survey shows that both genders seem to be open to being paid for it; which might be a bit of a curveball to some.