Why do men pay for sex?

In the midst of the recent Spitzer scandal, my wife asked me a particularly interesting question. During a discussion of the Governor's dual life, her boss asked why men would go to prostitutes in the first place. My wife had no idea, and passed the question on to me.

I would like to point out, for the record, that I have no professional knowledge of prostitution, from either end of the transaction; apart from a brief stint as an artists' model in college, I have never taken off my clothes for money. However, I do read a lot, and have done a fair bit of research into sexual politics and theory, and own a copy of Xaviera Hollander's The Happy Hooker. That having been said, I also wandered all over the internet!

Although there are numerous reasons for hiring a prostitute, most of them seem to fit within three key categories: