The intimacy of the gift in the economy of sex work

Ana Gutierrez Garza*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This article explores the intersection that exists between the economy and intimacy through an exploration of gift exchanges between Latin American sex workers and regular clients in London. It engages with scholarship on sex work and intimacy to explore the social dimension of gift embedded in affective commodified relationships. It argues that gifts and other exchanges are used to manage the excess of intimacy or to normalize newfound relationships. More importantly it explores the ways in which gifts create socio-economic and emotional spheres that contribute to the fulfilling of women’s migration dreams. Tracing gift exchanges in sex work offers an opportunity to examine the development of relationships that emerge from intimate sexual transactions and to look at the ways in which gift exchanges in sex work constrain or enable women’s social, economic, and emotional aspirations for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number4
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Sex work
  • Hope
  • Intimacy
  • Gifts
  • Migration
  • Future


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