MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    ‘I miss being honest’: sex workers’ accounts of silence and disclosure with health care providers in Ireland

    Ryan, Paul and McGarry, Kathryn (2022) ‘I miss being honest’: sex workers’ accounts of silence and disclosure with health care providers in Ireland. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 24 (5). pp. 688-701. ISSN 1369-1058

    Download (1MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    In this paper, female sex workers tell stories of their interactions with health care providers (HCP) in four cities in the Republic of Ireland. While Irish society has made great progress in listening to the sexual stories of women that were historically silenced (e.g. stories of abortion, sexual abuse), sex workers have not benefited from this new climate. Regularly silenced by parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations who speak upon their behalf, sex workers are consigned within a narrative of victimhood and coercion. This paper draws from a participant action research study conducted in 2019–20 and explores women’s motivations in whether to disclose their sex work, and the strategies deployed to conceal it while seeking access to sexual health care. These strategies included traveling beyond their own communities for health care and STI home testing. The paper identifies women, particularly, migrants who felt their precarious position made it impossible for them to be truthful about their sex work to health care providers, exposing them to greater health risk. The paper understands this marginality within a context of structural violence where sex worker health is shaped by institutional power relations creating unequal health outcomes but is also challenged by stories of solidarity.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Sex work; structural violence; health care; sexual story telling; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 17048
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Paul Ryan
    Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2023 14:35
    Journal or Publication Title: Culture, Health & Sexuality
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads