“So, why do you pay for it, Vanya?”

The following conversation took place while I was on one of my regular visits back home to Kiev, Ukraine. After I left, a number of points still needed to be clarified – and eventually were, through e-mail. The name Vanya is not the real name of the man I spoke with. In fact, all names here have been changed. Vanya is a friend of a friend of a friend. I do not know his last name, I do not know much about him in fact – all I know is that his family is relatively well-off, and that he is pretty young, early 20’s. I have had some trepidation about publishing our conversation here, but this recent discussion has convinced me to go ahead and do it. In particular, it was the repeated question of “what about the men who go to prostitutes” (I’m paraphrasing here) that has inspired me to take the plunge.

Natalia: So this probably seems weird.

Vanya: Sasha told me that you were a journalist, so not really, no.

Natalia: Well, I’m not really talking to you in any sort of professional capacity, and I don’t want to turn this into a thesis, so I’m going to try to be short and sweet about it, you’ve paid prostitutes for sex, right?

Vanya: Right.

Natalia: Can we talk about why?

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