Cool men don’t buy sex

We are calling on men to join a #CoolMenDontBuySex social media campaign to raise awareness that prostitution-buying is damaging and drives the vast prostitution industry, most of whose $186 billion annual global turnover goes into the pockets of pimps and traffickers.

It is estimated that there are 11 million sex trafficking victims worldwide, of whom 96% are women and girls. This represents an unimaginable amount of human misery and suffering.

Worldwide sex trafficking statistics

Let’s be clear, it is the money that ordinary men pay for prostitution that drives this exploitative industry.

Every time a man buys sex* anywhere in the world, he contributes to this cesspool of ruthless exploitation.

Cool men do not buy sex.

But what about…

But it isn’t like that, many people say – she chose to do it and therefore it’s consensual and completely ethical. To these people, we say please educate yourself about the reality.

To those who say they’re enabling her to have an income, we say why not give her some money without strings attached, and campaign for a more equal and just society?

To those who say the problems with prostitution would be sorted if we’d just legalise (or fully decriminalise) it, please find out what has happened in New Zealand and Germany.

The #CoolMenDontBuySex campaign

Prostitution is inherently violent and is one of the key mechanisms that maintains male dominance. We do not believe that prostitution is inevitable. And if we want a fairer, more humane world, we need to work to end it.

We already have a law in England and Wales that makes it a criminal offence to buy sex from someone who’s been coerced. But it’s not effective. This is why we need the Nordic Model, which makes buying sex per se a criminal offence, with the key aim of changing social norms around prostitution. This approach also cracks down on pimping and decriminalises those who sell sex and provides them with services and genuine routes out.

The Nordic Model requires thinking about prostitution differently and we need to raise awareness of this. The #CoolMenDontBuySex campaign is one way you can help raise that awareness.

Apne Aap, a pro-Nordic Model organisation helping women and girls out of the sex industry in India, started a #CoolMenDontBuySex campaign a couple of years ago. We want to build on their excellent work and bring the campaign to the UK.

We are calling on men to take selfies holding a #CoolMenDontBuySex or “Cool men don’t buy sex” sign, and post them on social media under the hashtag. Alternatively, email them to us ( and we will post them.

You can make your own sign or download a PDF to print out.

But isn’t the idea that men should be “cool” suffocating?

Some of the men we’ve spoken to have expressed reservations about the use of the word “cool.” One said, “it feels like part of the suffocating force that got men into the mess we’re now in.”

He has a point. We considered a number of other hashtags, including #MenWithIntegrityDontBuySex, #MenStandingAgainstBuyingSex, #MenForGenuineHumanConnection, and #PornSoakedMenAreUnfuckable. All have their strengths, but we don’t think any of them flows off the tongue quite as easily as #CoolMenDontBuySex.

Please use whatever you prefer. But it would be great if you could also add the #CoolMenDontBuySex hashtag to the social media post.

Here’s Ian doing his own thing.

Prostitution-buying sabotages men’s chance for real happiness

Harvard University recently completed a study on men’s life satisfaction. Led by Robert Waldinger, it was one of the largest studies of its kind ever undertaken, tracking 700 men over 75 years.

Its overwhelming conclusion was that it was the quality and warmth of personal, family and community relationships throughout their lives that was the single most important factor in determining the men’s happiness and life satisfaction, and even their physical health and financial stability.

Research shows that men who buy sex are more likely to commit rape and other forms of male violence against women and children, and are less likely to have empathy for women. Research on the effects of pornography use shows similar results.

It is not possible to have good, warm relationships without empathy. So abandoning porn use and sex-buying is not only in women’s and children’s best interests, but in men’s too.

Cool men do not buy sex.

Watch Robert Waldinger’s TED talk

Watch the Apne Aap video

1 woman, 18 men, 1 day

Further reading

[ * ] “Buying sex” and “sex-buyer” are not our favourite terms because they sanitise the inequality and abuse inherent to prostitution. Prostitution is more a case of a man renting a woman for sexual use. But sometimes there’s a place for compromise in the interests of accessibility. See Terminology for more on this.

10 thoughts on “Cool men don’t buy sex

  1. I’ve always said that ‘cool men that buy sex’ and I was shot down on a website called ‘SAAFE’, which stands for ‘Support and Advice for Escorts’, this site is a lot of bullshit because half of the women on it like to pretend that they like having sexual with clients, they are fooling themselves and pulling wool over more inexperienced girls’ eyes, I think if you genuinely like having sex with clients, as a woman, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with you and you need help. I left Saafe because I felt bullied and I was sick of the lies on that site, it needs closed down and a real, supportive site needs to be put in place for escorts.

  2. There is no such thing as a ‘sex worker’. There are ‘prostitutes’ yes, but ‘sex workers’.. No.

    If I hire my body out to a man whom I find repulsive, for two hours, and I use mental tactics to try and disassociate myself from proceedings to get through the ordeal, then when it’s finished I take the cash, because I desperately need it, but I feel violated, dirty, used, abused, debased, dehumanised, depressed…

    … I would not call that ‘sex’

    That exchange is not ‘sex’.

    The man who I have given my body to, to use for his own selfish gratification, would be deluding himself to think it was ‘sex’ on my part.

    If I hated every minute of it and I only did it for the cash that is not ‘sex’. It was his glorified, deluded masturbatation.

    Their delusion – my reality.

    There is no such thing as a ‘sex work’.

    Just as it is impossible to buy love, it is also impossible to buy sex.

    There are no ‘love workers’. There is no ‘love work’.

    Please Nordic Model, dispense with the terms ‘sex worker’ and the idea that it’s possible to buy sex.

    The term ‘sex worker’ is a patriarchal evolution of the word ‘prostitute’ (which is more honest) designed to reinforce the delusion of men (and some women). The delusion that sex can be bought.

    The term ‘sex worker’ sugar coats the exploitation & comforts the exploiters. It validates women’s bodies as commodities.

    Please stop using the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘sex worker’.

      1. Thank you for your reply

        I saw your headline (re: ‘cool men don’t buy sex) & I felt compelled to comment, since sex is not something that can be bought.

        I’m relieved about your stance.

        Kind regards


      2. We advise reading the article – it explains some more why we chose this hashtag and our reservations about the ‘sex buying’ term. Our aim is to raise awareness and sometimes there’s a need to strike a balance in the interests of accessible communication in a world where the ‘sex work’ narrative has now become mainstream.

        Thank you for your engagement. Best wishes.

  3. Feel free to delete this question if you feel it’s inappropriate. However, I feel we must address the elephant in the room. What would you say to someone who pays for sex and sexual experiences because it’s the only way for him to have those experiences at that time?

    1. Prostitution is one-sided sex – he pays precisely because the other person (usually a woman or girl) would not otherwise have sex with him. The person being paid wants the money and not the sex – which makes it inherently traumatising. Over time, involvement in prostitution generally entrenches the disadvantages that led the person there.

      If we accept prostitution as legitimate, we legitimise putting the needs of the person with money ahead of the needs of the person who needs money. As we live in a world with huge inequalities in which men have on average more money than women and girls, white people than people of colour, older people than young people, etc. this means we are in practice putting the needs and dignity of men, white people and older people ahead of women, people of colour and the young and very young.

      Do you really think this can square up to modern society’s claims to aim for equality for all?

      Viewing sex as a commodity that you can buy is inherently dehumanising – including of the punter. As this article tries to explain, buying sex ultimately makes it harder for an individual to forms meaningful relationships – instead it makes people more narcissistic and entitled.

Leave a Reply